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People turned back at border with Northern Ireland as new rules come into effect

People living in Northern Ireland who cross the Irish border without a reasonable excuse face a 100 euro fine from today.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Updated Feb 8th 2021, 3:04 PM

PEOPLE TRAVELLING FROM Northern Ireland into the Republic are being turned back at the border if they do not have an essential reason for travel.

A number of Garda checkpoints were operating along the border today to enforce the new Covid-19 regulations.

People living in Northern Ireland who cross the Irish border without a reasonable excuse face a €100 fine.

One such checkpoint, near Emyvale on the Tyrone-Monaghan border, had seen three motorists turned back this morning.

Inspector Adrian Durcan from the Monaghan Garda Station told the PA News Agency: “We have a checkpoint which is here to enforce the regulations which are currently in existence, to ensure that people comply with the Covid rules.

“From 7 o’clock this morning, we’re here to advise people that anybody who is not ordinarily resident in this state, they are now liable to a fine of €100, if they are travelling without an essential reason to be here.”

Inspector Durcan said no fines have been issued so far, but that some people have been turned back.

He said: “We have engaged with a few people who have not had essential reasons and on the advice of the guards, they have turned back.

“People have turned back when requested. I think it was three so far this morning.”

 Under current Covid-19 restrictions, gardaí have been to carrying out static checkpoints on national roads, as well as other mobile checkpoints and high visibility patrols in areas such as parks and scenic locations. 

An Garda Síochána has also been carrying out checkpoints on access roads to airports and ports, as well as in departure areas, to check on whether people travelling to these locations are undertaking an essential journey. 

Travelling to an airport or port to take a holiday abroad isn’t an essential journey, gardaí said. 

Between 29 January and 5 February, gardaí have issued approximately 375 fines at Dublin Airport to people for leaving the country for non-essential travel. 

People issued with a Covid-19 related fine have 28 days to pay the fine.

An Garda Síochána has a process in place with the Courts Service where anyone who fails to pay their fine within 28 days will receive a court date shortly after. 

While it’s a matter for the court to decide, gardaí said the failure to pay the FPN can result in conviction for a first offence in the District Court in a fine of €1,000 and/or imprisonment. The gardaí highlighted that courts are open to reporting by local and national media. 

As of last Friday, six people are due before District Courts in March for non-payment of a Covid-19 fine. They will appear before courts in Dublin, Cork, Meath, Waterford and Limerick.

House parties

In a statement on Friday, gardaí confirmed that they have intervened with house parties across the country, with in excess of 300 fines issued for either organising or attending a house party. 

The fine for organising a house party is €500 and attending a house party is €150. 

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In addition, gardaí can issue a fine of €500 for organising other relevant events in breach of public health regulations. 

Last week, An Garda Síochána also attended breaches of health regulations by licensed premises, restaurants, retail outlets, hair and beauty salons amongst other business premises. In all instances, files will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Elsewhere, gardaí are continuing to investigate potential breaches of public health regulations associated with funerals and weddings.

Gardaí are reminding people that they are only allowed to exercise within 5km of their home. The 5km limit includes the distance travelled from a person’s home to a location for exercise. 

“Despite the significant challenges and sacrifices, the vast majority of people continue to comply with the public health advice. We thank them for that and ask them to keep it up,” Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said in a statement on Friday. 

“However, there also continues to be a minority who are putting themselves, their loved ones, their friends and their neighbours at risk of getting Covid-19 by not adhering to the regulations,” Twomey said. 

“Covid-19 doesn’t switch off so that people can attend parties, or go on holidays, or gather in large groups,” he said. 

“The message is clear and has been for some time – people should only make essential journeys, reduce their contacts, practice social distancing and wash their hands. Please stay safe and keep others safe by staying home.” 

 

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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